Episode 3

Catch up on episode 3 on All4 here.

Every year 2500 people suffer a spinal cord injury. At William Harvey Hospital in Kent – a designated trauma unit in the far south of the network – 17-year-old Frazer has arrived after falling twenty feet down a cliff. Consultant Jonathan is taking him for MRI scans to assess the severity of the damage to his spinal cord. As the scans appear on the screen, the seriousness of the injury is all too apparent, “it’s a complete transection…this injury is life changing”.

Meanwhile, London’s Air Ambulance are dispatched to 51-year-old Philip after his car collided with a bus. As firefighters try to extract him from the car, Dr Chloe gets her first look at Philip, “there’s a lot of blood around his head, he needs to come out”. Philip is rushed to St George’s Major Trauma Centre in South West London. Consultant Harriet assesses his multiple injuries and is concerned about a lack of sensation in his legs. She orders more detailed scans and refers him to neurologists, “the next few days will have huge implications for Philip’s quality of life”.

28-year-old Danilo had life-saving surgery at St Mary’s to repair a rupture to the main blood vessel from his heart – after a serious motorbike crash. He’s since had four major surgeries including an operation to fix his damaged bowel resulting in an open wound in his stomach. General Surgeon, Christos will now close the wound using a ground-breaking technique – specially treated pig skin.

12-year-old Lily is in intensive care at St George’s after being hit by a car. Doctors are concerned about a potential brain injury and today she faces surgery to repair her badly broken hip. Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Omar needs to fix her hip in the correct angle using screws and a plate, “when you’re operating on a child…it has implications on that child for the rest of their life”. But as the operation continues, Omar has to revert to plan B to complete the surgery.

At Royal London, 17-month-old Mika’eel suffered short seizures after a television fell on his head. Emergency Medicine Registrar Akshay makes the decision to scan his head for a potential brain injury. Mum Sarah describes what happened, “it’s every mothers’ worst nightmare”.

Back at St George’s, Lily has been woken from her induced coma. Initial signs show she has no obvious brain injury and her parents have been by her side almost the entire time. Today Physiotherapists will see if she can stand for the first time since the surgery to fix her broken hip.

At William Harvey, Trauma Director Tasha has to deliver the bad news to Frazer and his mum, “he’s undoubtedly paralysed to some extent for the rest of his life”. She tries to get Frazer to think positively about his future, “although your life is going to be different….your ability to rehab is going to be fab… you will do that” and reminds him he’s not alone, “you’ve fallen but the whole system is going to catch you”. Events take another turn for the worse when Frazer’s spine becomes very unstable, and he needs to be transferred to King’s College Major Trauma Centre in London for an urgent operation by the highly specialised Neurosurgeons.